Adoption: Pound Chat Version
For many Neopians, adoption simply means refreshing the pound a few times, finding a nice name or, if you're lucky, a nice colored pet, clicking adopt, and paying the fee. Instantaneously, the pet is viewed as your active, and you have successfully adopted a neopet! Now you can do almost anything you like with it, and if you even change your mind about adopting it, you could throw it back in the pound tomorrow or the day after.
For the Neopians on the Pound Chat though, adoption has a very different meaning. Even the phrases "up for adoption" and "up for quick adoption" can mean drastically different things. Many times, the rules, expectations and requirements can be highly confusing, so here is a quick guide for anyone hoping to adopt a pet or just trying to familiarize themselves with the PC.
This familiar term in the Pound Chat is short for someone's dream pet. A dream pet is categorized subjectively, but I have split dreamies up into three different categories based on the desire for that pet.
The first level, or perhaps lowest level of desire, is that you like how the pet looks. Perhaps it's the color or you're a species collector, but you just want the pet in order to have that nice looking pet on your account. There is nothing wrong with this level, and many people have lots of pets in their dreamies list that are level one dreamies. You tend to not have a burning desire for this pet, but it is something you would like to own one day. These pets, you might end up keeping if you stay attached to their looks, but more often than not, most people will find another pet they like more.
The next level of dreamies is that you like how the pet looks but you also have another reason for wanting the pet. You might have a great customization idea, a great crosspaint idea, the first inklings of a neat character idea that this pet would fit. Even though dreamies on this level may fade according to your inspiration for said customization or character, it creates another layer of attachment and want for the pet. These pets, you will probably make a board seeking, and there is a chance of you keeping if your idea works out.
The highest level of dreamies, belong to the ones that you have been searching for, generally for a long time, in which you have concrete ideas for. There is a grey area between this level and the second level, so classification is subjective and dependent on how strong your idea is. These dreamies tend to be more valuable pets as they take the most time achieving, but may also just be rare pets to make, such as a lab only color. Dreamies on the third level though, will most likely stay with you indefinitely.
These are all legitimate reasons for wanting to adopt a pet, and really, no level is considered "better" than the other. Some may be more preferable to certain types of fosters, but overall, you choose what level dreamie that pet is and no one else.
So what do dreamies have to do with adopting a pet? Well, you have to determine which level dreamie the pet you are applying for is. Do you want to apply for the pet just because they're a nice species and color combination, do you have inspiration for that pet, or has that pet been something you have been seeking for a very long time now? This is key in figuring out how much time you would like to spend on your application as well as what format the application will take. Perhaps after thinking it over you will decide not to adopt the pet after all.
As for a foster's preference on whether or not their pet up for adoption is a dream pet of yours, this is also subjective to the foster. Some do not like the word at all, as too many times people have claimed that their pet was a dream pet but have traded or adopted out that said pet (this would've been people who had the pet as a level one or two dreamie). There are also others who are only looking for people who would keep that pet forever, so you need to consider if this pet is a level three dreamie of yours or not, and if it is only level one or two, would be okay keeping it forever.
2. Values of Pets Up for Adoption
The "value" or rarity of pet up for adoption can heavily influence the adoption process. Pets that are more sought after, as they are rarer, tend to get numerous applications, which increases the amount of competition. If you are one to shy away from competition, or would like to see if the pet you want to apply for has a lot of competition, sometimes the foster lists how many applications they are expecting to receive, or will tell you if you ask.
Some fosters do not have such lists or numbers and are unwilling to tell you, so another way to tell is to hang out or lurk on their up for adoption boards. Fosters generally make boards to advertise that their pets are up for adoption, as they would like to get interest. If there are lots of people on the board constantly chatting and vying for attention, one or many of the foster's pets are most likely quite popular. If there are only a few people here and there, and some close friends of the foster, perhaps there is less competition. This is not a hard and fast rule, but a general rule of thumb that can help if you are trying to quickly assess the popularity of the pet.
The rarity of the pet can not only increase the competition, it will also most likely raise the standard of the application. Other users who may also want the pet, due to how rare it is or their own reasons, may be willing to go above and beyond to make an application, which is their choice. This is not exclusive for popular pets, however; there are many users who would be willing to do this for pets that are categorized as "unpopular" but mean a lot to them. So this is not to say that you will have no chance, but you need to consider how much time and effort you would be willing to put into the application if it seems that the pet is quite rare, has a lot of competition, and will receive top notch applications.
3. Neomail vs. Petpage Applications and Subsequent Expectations
There are different expectations for neomail and petpage applications, as fosters can require an application, but they may not require a petpage application. If they are doing so, then they are breaking a rule of neopets and you may report them. The main difference between the two is that neomail applications can be required, but petpage applications must be done willingly. That being said, there are two different lists of expectations for neomail and petpage applications.
Neomail applications are just what they sound like, applications that are written in a neomail and neomailed over to the foster. Sometimes, fosters ask that if you neomail application is longer than three neomails, they will ask you to place it on a blank petpage. No, this is not against the rules, but just for organizational and easy reading for them. These applications tend to center around you introducing yourself and talking a bit about what you do on neopets, why you want the pet, what you are doing with your current pets and your plans for the pet. This may seem like quite a bit, but if you spare two or three sentences for each, you will have a pretty solid neomail application. Some people also link fosters to art pages, story pages, etc. that they are proud of.
Petpage applications on the other hand require more elaborate sections, as they are done voluntarily. These are not requirements, but petpage applications tend to have a character profile, some sort of story, an art section (by you or other people if you are not an artist), an adoptable section, a section about you, a section about your current pets, why you want the pet, what your plans are for the pet, and customization/petpet plans. These do not always appear on all petpage applications, but are sections that you will be able to find on some. As you can see, this is a lot longer than the list for neomail applications. On top of this, in order to make your petpage application pop, it is a bonus if you have a great layout for the application, but it is definitely not the case with all petpage applications.
4. Up for Adoption vs. Up for Quick Adoption
Now that I have covered the basics of the adoption process, I need to point out a big difference between Up for Adoption and Up for Quick Adoption. The three dreamie levels, value of the pet, and types of applications still apply in both cases, but there are key differences that need to be noted.
Up for Quick Adoption, is exactly like what it sounds. This foster is looking to adopt out their pet rather quickly, either they are in need of space, or would just like to do a good deed without asking too much of other people. These can range from fosters looking to adopt out said pet in a few days, or right there on the board. The general application types for these are neomail or board (applications typed right on the board – these requirements will mostly likely be stated in the first post) application. Sometimes they are seeking people who this pet is the third level of dreamies for, but most of the time, someone who wants the pet as a first or second level dreamie will do. These pets are generally easier to adopt than pets that are regularly up for adoption. Don't confuse these boards with Pounding boards though. Pounding is generally where a foster is generating interest for a pet that they will pound. They are generally not picky, though some will prefer to mail times to specific people, and most of the time, all you need to do is state interest.
Pet that are Up for Adoption are quite different. These pets will have longer deadlines, generally ranging from two weeks to two months, depending on foster and pet. The application formats for these pets tend to be a neomail application or a petpage application, chosen by will of the adoptee. The foster will generally have a set of rules they would like adoptees to follow, as well as pickiness levels for the pet/pets they are adopting out. Sometimes, but not always, the foster will keep a finalists list, and pick the future owner from there. This process can be quite long, and there is less chance of you adopting the pet (of course, the value of the pet and all the things that come with it are still factors). What makes this method of adoption worthwhile is that most of the time Unconverteds (or pets in the old art style that can no longer be made) will be put up for adoption, and very rarely do they go up for quick adoption.
5. Some Tips!
You are almost ready to journey into the murky waters of the Pound Chat adoption process! Before you do though, here are some notes of advice in order to keep yourself afloat and to avoid obvious blunders.
In spite of everything else, here are some general expectations that apply to most pets that are up for adoption:
Effort: fosters like to see effort placed in the application. It can be as simple as proofreading it for spelling and grammar errors, to a custom layout and art created by you. Any sign of effort is key and will definitely get you bonus points.
Honesty: many people are not honest in their applications, and most fosters on the Pound Chat are aware of that, but that doesn't mean you can't be honest. Trust me; sometimes it does make a difference.
Manners: this may seem like a simple one, but simply having manners when talking to them or when closing off your application with a thank you, will make a big difference. People like people who are nice to them.
Chatting with the foster: unless they state that they do not want to chat with adoptees or do not seem particularly in the mood for a chat, chatting with them is always fine, generally they are more than happy to talk to you. Just know when you are toeing the line into the realm of kissing up and being annoying.
Here are some things that you should not do when sending in an application, though:
Forgetting the pet's gender: seems obvious, but many times adoptees do not accurately state the pet's gender and this can majorly hurt your application.
Misspelling the pet's name: even if you only do it once, and it was a typo, it indicates sloppiness on your part and will being down the overall sense of your application. Misspelling the name multiple times however, will indicate to the foster that you just don't care.
Begging: considered extremely rude, and it's also against the rules. Don't do it.
Slandering other applicants: Even if you may have reasons to do so, slandering is not okay in any way, and will generally annoy the foster into disliking you. If you don't have a reason to do so, talking badly about other applicants will only hurt you. In both cases, the foster generally finds out about such things.
So what to do when you finally get the pet?
Congratulations, the pet is now yours, and yes, you may do whatever you want with it, including negating all your promises in your application. This is generally frowned upon in the Pound Chat, and if the pet is a particularly popular one with lots of interest, it will make you quite infamous. It might even land you on some people's block lists. This is definitely not advised and not smart at all. If you do get the pet, I suggest you think about fulfilling your promises in the application. If you said you would give them a certain customization, start getting a few items that you will need. If you said you would give them a character, write something about it on their pet lookup and petpage. Even just attach the petpet you promised to get the pet. Things to not have to be fulfilled within a second of receiving the pet, not even a week, but effort and intention of doing these things will comfort the foster into knowing they made the right decision, and will set you up for achieving a dream of yours.
Now that you have the general guidelines of adopting a pet on the Pound Chat, you are ready to dive into pet adoption! You may soon become an expert in your own right, but never forget: the value of your pets don't matter to anyone but you.